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Send A Message (Part 2)

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In Part 1 we looked at how a personal statement can tell employers what makes us special if written as a text or tweet. But social media skills can be key job hunting skills in other ways too.

Whether we use Facebook or LinkedIn, or watch video blogs on YouTube, we are becoming masters at creating a positive public persona. And first impressions count for everything when it comes to getting a job.

[Note of caution: The reverse is also true. People who troll others, share extreme political posts or post revealing pictures of themselves online are just as much creating a public face too. It’s called a footprint and employers can, if they choose, find it.

Imagine an internal editor who asks if we’d like our boss to see what we’re publishing and check what we’re putting up before we press ‘post’. They should also carry out a thorough spell check too, so we’re in the habit when we’re applying for jobs.]

COVER YOURSELF

Facebook is powerful. We can look up almost anyone in the world (and if their privacy settings are not locked down, see what they’ve been up to) or tell hundreds of contacts we’re safe when something bad happens. But we should always keep things simple and not ramble so people keep reading. This is a good skill for writing a cover letter.

Starting from the personal statement, a cover letter should expand on these key thoughts as though we are commenting on the weekend we’ve had or making a point about whatever Trump has been up to this time. Less is more, provided it includes the relevant info like which job we’re after, why we want it and how good we’d be in the role. It should introduce the CV or application form the way the best social media posts include a pic, video clip or link to the news we’re ranting about.

BE THE STORY

Profiles on LinkedIn are designed to look like a CV because it works as a platform for advertising us to future employers. When we set up a profile, LinkedIn walks us through the content it requires including a jobs history and profile of the skills we offer. We can connect with people we know who are also on LinkedIn and ask them to endorse a set of skills we want employers to see. Our personal statement should be included too, so it really is a living, digital CV. It’s a good place to practice how to present the best version of ourselves to a new boss.

LinkedIn (and sometimes Facebook) offers the option of looking up the company too because many have a profile page describing the work they do. There are special interest groups to join that provide insight about the kind of job we are applying for, so think about questions that could come up in interview or what we want to ask.

BE DIFFERENT, NOT AN ALIEN

CV workshops often ‘help’ jobseekers churn out pieces of paper that all look the same. An employer has to judge one person from the next and if they all the look similar, none are likely to make it. All job seekers are unique. Our mix of skills and interests and hope for the future are never the same as the next person. Online is where we can explore these things and, provided we keep it positive, it’s a safe space to show ourselves off.

Video bloggers or ‘vloggers’, are ahead of the game in the interview stakes. For a start, they are comfortable with talking about themselves. Even more impressive is to do it to camera so no-one is asking questions, they simply believe that people will be interested in what they’re saying. It’s worth watching some examples of video blogs to see how to bring a digital persona to life. What would our first ‘vlog’ look like? A short personal statement, a few paragraphs about what we’re after and what we’re good at, and then some more on why we want to do what we want to do?

Since lockdown many of us will have had to use video more to interact with colleagues or loved ones. It’s a great way to practice with a friend using Zoom, FaceTime or WhatsApp. It might feel awkward to start but what better practice for meeting an employer for the first time?

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